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Overnight layover in London

Travel Forums Europe Overnight layover in London

1. Posted by EaLaSpada (Budding Member 78 posts) 3y

A friend and I have a good 12 hour layover in London on our way back to the US from Egypt, which would be excellent, but it is at night. I know that many, many of you will advise us just to sleep it out in a Yotel or the like, but we would really like to experience something of London in those 12 hours, even if it's just sitting in a restaurant or bar for a few hours. Is there public transportation to be found during the wee hours? Any advice on where to go? And yes, I know we'll be exhausted, but better to be exhausted than to just sleep off a "free" trip to London!

2. Posted by Sam2000 (Inactive 121 posts) 3y

Umm, depends what time really. If you're flying back from Egypt I guess it is either Gatwick or Heathrow you're going to? That's not too bad but if it's any of the other "London" airports then do bear in mind that it can take anything up to two hours to get into the city.

London has great night life and there are plenty of places in the city centre to experience it, the big touristy pub is Ye Old Cheddar Cheese in Blackfriars but it's usually heaving with tourists as a result. I can really recommend Covent Garden and Soho which has no end of good bars, pubs and clubs that open till late. There are loads of small music venues in London that will have gigs on just about every night and gives a good feel of the London music scene. Depends on what music you're into but venues like the Camden Underworld, Barfly, also in Camden and billions of others. Tragically the Astoria has closed...

Do note, however, that the word "expensive" is relative when it comes to London and it is easy to start considering £5-6 for a pint of beer cheap...at some of the more classy places.

There's a great little club in Brick Lane called 93 Feet East, it's near Liverpool Street Station (which if you're coming from Stansted Airport is close).

I think most Tube lines close at midnight-ish. However, they don't all close at the same time and some of the more major lines may close later. Even so, it's still too early...

Most big pubs/bars will close at 1am, some clubs may open till 3am at weekends (though earlier during the week).

3. Posted by EaLaSpada (Budding Member 78 posts) 3y

Thanks, Sam2000. We would be flying into Heathrow, probably around 10:30-11pm. It sounds like London may be a town that does sleep... Some good suggestions, there, though. Do you know if buses run later than the Tube?

4. Posted by magykal1 (Travel Guru 2026 posts) 3y

Quite a lot of buses run all night, you can get to within walking distance of most places. They can be a bit unpleasant to travel on very late at night. If you get to Heathrow 10.30-11 there will still be trains running into the centre. I usually find Soho is pretty lively most of the evening.

5. Posted by EaLaSpada (Budding Member 78 posts) 3y

Thanks, magkal1! You never fail with the great information! This is sounding more hopeful. One question though: when you say "They can be a bit unpleasant to travel on very late at night," do you mean "there might be a smelly drunk guy singing to himself near you" or "you will be raped repeatedly"?

6. Posted by magykal1 (Travel Guru 2026 posts) 3y

Smelly drunk guy very likely - almost certain. 1 in 3 chance of there being a pool of vomit somewhere on the bus if it's after 2am. Repeated raping highly unlikely. Crime rate of London Transport is thankfully very low, and night buses are usually pretty busy, particularly popular routes in the middle of town.

7. Posted by EaLaSpada (Budding Member 78 posts) 3y

I definitely appreciate the clarification. Thanks again, magkal1. If you ever decide to visit Florida, I would be delighted to supply you with as much helpful information as you've given me these past few trips.

8. Posted by daphnemaia (Full Member 155 posts) 3y

u might still be able to get the heathrow express train which takes just 15mins to get to paddington station, if u make a dash for it (assuming no long queues at the immigrations). here's the schedule: https://www.heathrowexpress.com/timetable-schedule - it costs GBP 16 one way. otherwise get an airport shuttle service, it costs less than a cab. it'll probably cost u abt GBP 20 per person. a taxi will cost u around 50 to 70 pounds, i think.

9. Posted by EaLaSpada (Budding Member 78 posts) 3y

Thanks, daphnemaia!

10. Posted by DocNY (Respected Member 403 posts) 3y

London definitely isn't an all night city, but clubs and some pubs will be open til fairly late and you should have a chance to sample a little bit, but you are going to have a period of a number of hours where its going to be dead quiet. You might want to grab some sleep between 3-7 unless you find some friends to guide you about, and then you and do some touristy stuff early in the AM, before heading back to Heathrow.

The area around heathrow doesn't have a huge amount to recommend, but there are a couple of decent and friendly working class pubs (like the Duke of Wellington) just outside the airport, and the Jury Inn right there is handy if you decide you need to crash for a few hours until your flight.

Good luck.